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Two arrests made in murder and robbery of SU student from China

Provided by the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department
Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway speaks with the press.

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department announced that two arrests have been made in the robbery and murder of a Syracuse University student in September in the town of DeWitt.

Cameron Isaac, 23, of North Syracuse and Ninimbe Mitchell, 20, of Syracuse were both charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The victim was Xiaopeng Yuan, 23, who is from China. Officials described the incident as a drug deal gone wrong.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said it was difficult for the sheriff’s department to initially contact the victim’s family in China.

"It was also difficult to meet with Mr. Yuan's mother and father," Fitzpatrick said. "Members of the sheriff's department and members of my office did. We encouraged them and told them we would seek justice for their boy. Today you see that promise was kept. They were devastated when they were in my office. Obviously, their language is Chinese and it was difficult to communicate with them but we had an interpreter there. You could see the grief on their faces it was palpable."

Fitzpatrick said the weapon used in the murder still has not been found.

"Someone out there in this community has knowledge of where that weapon is," Fitzpatrick said. "For the immediate future, I am willing to be tolerant regarding the confiscation of that weapon. In other words, if you have it or you know where it is, you better tell us within the next 48 hours, otherwise you're going to face the serious consequences."

The two men arrested are being held without bail.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.